Dominic Thiem stunned world number two Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the 2019 Barcelona Open on Saturday. Thiem won in straight sets to make it to his second final after the Indian Wells Masters.
Nadal, who had still been reeling from his semi-final defeat at the Monte-Carlo Masters, was broken twice in the match, facing 12 break-points in the entire encounter. Thiem needed to convert just two of them to set up a final meeting against Daniil Medvedev.
Things went on serve till the fourth game in the first set, with neither player getting a chance to break but Thiem soon had Nadal 0-40 down in the fifth. The Spaniard saved two of the three break-points but Thiem managed to convert the third to take a 3-2 lead.
And if Nadal thought he could try and get back on serve, he never had a chance. Thiem held on to his serve without facing a break-point in the whole set to clinch it 6-4. Nadal, himself, saved four more break-points in the seventh game, which saw deuces before he held on.
The script repeated in the second set. Nadal saved two break-points in the first game but it was in the fifth game again that Thiem broke his service off the second break-point he got. What more, the Indian Wells Masters winner took the next game to love before missing out on a chance to get a second break in the seventh game.
He will now take on seventh seeded Daniil Medvedev in the final after the Russian overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a stiff, three-setter. Medvedev, who had earlier won the Sofia Open and was a semi-finalist at the Monte-Carlo Masters last week, made it to his maiden clay-court final as he edged past the fourth seeded Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Medvedev was a break down in the final set but came back strongly to win in two hours and 25 minutes. Incidentally, with this victory, he has now registered 25 wins on the tour this year six ahead of the second-most by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Guido Pella.